While a Good First Step, Critical Questions Remain Unanswered in Bipartisan Bill on VA Health Care

<0> Paralyzed Veterans of AmericaLani Poblete, 202-412-1709 </0>

In response to the McCain-Sanders bill on VA health care announced yesterday,  (Paralyzed Veterans) Executive Director Homer Townsend released the following statement:

Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is encouraged by a possible compromise agreement between Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders and Senator John McCain. While we are pleased to see Republican and Democratic senators finally working to achieve legislative compromise, we believe a number of critical questions must be answered before going forward:

These issues must be carefully examined—and definitive congressional action defined—prior to approval of any compromise, as they will dictate success or failure. It is imperative that Congress not act with such haste to approve a so-called solution to the access problems within the VA system without undertaking meaningful analysis.

Paralyzed Veterans appreciates the recognition by Senators McCain and Sanders that a Secretary should not have free reign to fire an executive in VA without just cause. We also appreciate the senators’ willingness to address the capacity problems that exist in the VA health care system by providing direct hire authority to bring more doctors, nurses, and health care providers into the system. Similarly, we are pleased to see that positive steps are finally being taken to secure new major medical facility leases around the country and to get these facilities open and providing care.

Now, however, it is incumbent upon Congress and the Administration to ensure that VA is provided all of the resources necessary to provide timely, quality care—first and foremost in the VA health care system and, when necessary, in the private sector. Meanwhile, it is unacceptable for members of Congress to continue to claim that VA has enough resources to fulfill its mission when it clearly does not.

Paralyzed Veterans is committed to ensuring that VA remains a viable health care system. Our members—veterans with  and —and all veterans with specialized health care needs have no choices outside of VA, as comparable care simply does not exist in the private sector. As Congress moves to reform the VA health care system, this fact must remain foremost in their mind.

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the “Greatest Generation” of World War II. They created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges that they faced back in the 1940s—from a medical community not ready to treat them to an  world. For more than 68 years, Paralyzed Veterans’ national office and its 34 across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. ()